Chapter 24 – Snowflake Serenade (6)

“Real snow?”

Perhaps it was too unexpected. The Director repeated the words with a stunned look.

“Are you suggesting that we use something like a Snow Blower and spray artificial snow or something?”

“Something similar.”

“Would that work? It’s not like this is a skating arena, and there isn’t any temperature control equipment necessary to maintain freezing temperature. How would you maintain the snow in indoor temperature?”

Unlike the pessimistic reaction of the Director, the Representative showed interest in his gaze.

“Director, who is this fellow?”

“Ah, this man here is the staff in charge of today’s Pyrotechnics .”

“Wasn’t that your area of expertise, Director?”

“He’s also highly skilled. For me, all I can do is choose the timing to fire off the effects, but Jungwu is able to manipulate the fireworks itself and give it flavor.”

The Representative looked Jungwu up and down as if to inspect him.

“Highly skilled you say?”

Jungwu didn’t get intimidated nor did he look overly confident, maintaining a calm look as he faced the Shopping Mall’s CEO. The Representative said,

“I have considered using real snow before. I’ve visited Dubai once and seen their ski resort. Why shouldn’t it be possible to do something that they managed to do in that sweltering desert?”

A question was posed by the Representative. Since Jungwu had never imagined anything so fancy as running a ski resort in the middle of a desert, he answered while scratching his chin.

“Of course it will be easier than in the desert. Like the Director said earlier, cold temperature is necessary to form snow. But having bone-chilling coldness like a Skating Rink is also not necessary.”

Jungwu thought about the snowflake phenomena he had witnessed earlier in the room, and then started with the conclusion.

“It will be made on top over there. If you open all the windows the top floor will get sufficiently cold enough. It’s a method that will work even if it doesn’t get below freezing. It’s fine just reaching near freezing temperatures.”

“Near freezing? Hey Jungwuya, near freezing temperatures in winter isn’t cold, it would be considered rather comfortably warm. Ice doesn’t even easily form until you reach negative 5 degrees celsius. So wouldn’t the Snow Blower just make rain instead?”

Jungwu nodded to the Director’s logical statements.

“Pure water actually freezes at negative 39 degrees celsius or lower. But snow isn’t simply frozen water. Ice star…oh I should call it Ice Nucleus, as long as there is a material to maintain the Ice formation, the freezing point can be much much higher. Whether it’s an impurity like dust or a granule that water molecules stick to…”

He imagined the process of the Ice Nucleus transforming into a snowflake star. Jungwu looked at the chemical composition of molecules gently wrapping the surface of the Ice Star.

“…like a man-made protein compound.”

“Protein compound?”

“Did you know that when there is formation of frost in the fall, the plants form a layer of ice at mere negative 2 degrees celsius? It’s caused by a microorganism called Pseudomonas. This Microorganism has protein on the surface that acts as Ice Nucleus needed for ice to form. And so crops freeze at relatively higher temperatures.”

Perhaps it was due to the calm manner he was giving his ideas, even the Director became engrossed in the explanation. It was then the Representative who was wanting to grasp at straws finally looked pleased.

Soochan who had been viewing the situation nervously finally calmed down when he noticed the two men’s reactions.

“The ski resort built in the desert probably used this protein to mass produce snow that forms at a higher temperature, since it’s cheaper to do this than to use the air conditioner to reduce the temperature by even one degree.”

“So where can this protein be purchased?”

The Representative asked without being able to hold himself back. Jungwu scratched his chin and replied nonchalantly.

“Pseudomonas doesn’t have all that of a complex genetic structure, so most chemical companies should be able to design a much more effective product…”

Jungwu suddenly stopped speaking.

“Excuse me, Mr. Representative. Would you mind if I called our company KG Chemicals to see if they sell it?”

“KG Chemicals?”

Because Jungwu was wearing a “Sing Company” entry tag around his neck, the Representative looked confused. Jungwu pointed towards his friend.

“I came today to help out a friend. I actually work at KG Chemicals.”

“So you worked for a Chemical company. That explains why you speak so differently from other stage crews I’ve seen. I would love to move ahead with the idea at the earliest convenience so please go ahead and give them a call.”

“Alright, please give me 3 minutes.”

After leaving the control room, Jungwu found his cellphone and dialed the number.

‘Please answer.’

The signal rang a few times, and luckily the person on the other end picked up the phone.

– Yes

There was a sense of intelligence behind this woman’s voice.

“Ah, Doctor Moon. Sorry for calling so suddenly.

– Jungwu ssi? What do you need?

“I think I just ran into an opportunity to raise my work performance.”

Jungwu quickly summarized the events.

“So what we need is large amounts of specialized protein compound, and so I was wondering if KG Chemicals would have them in stock, and what are the processes of obtaining it.”

– …You’re making sales on weekends?

Doctor Moon’s puzzled tone of voice was apparent even through the phone.

“I didn’t come here to make a sale per se. First step is checking if we have this material in the material library at the Central Research Laboratory. So, do you know anyone who’s hard-working enough to go to work on weekends?”

– Tell me then.

“Excuse me?”

– I’m close to where I can access the database so just tell me then.

“Doctor Moon, did you head to work today?”

– I am in the middle of making progress on my project.

Jungwu swallowed back his groan of surprise. Last weekend, she had stayed awake all night with him, and even this weekend she decided to go to work. Recalling that he had been complaining just this morning that he might be suffering from work addiction, he couldn’t help but feel that he had been naive in the face of a real workaholic.

Feeling humbled, Jungwu said,

“It’s a protein made by a microorganism called Pseudomonas. I don’t know how far the production stage has reached, but to begin, with we need Malonyl, Acyl Carrier Protein, and something that can act as coating for transacylase…”

After searching based on the chemical information that Jungwu provided, Doctor Moon finally answered.

– There is a record of producing a product called Super Snow Max. What’s this? It’s listed as a product targeted for Ski Resorts.

“That’s the right one.”

– It’s quite expensive. Although it showed 89% increase in the volume of snow, the note states that it was put on hold due to high production unit prices. There’s raw material stored in Paju Factory’s number 13 warehouse.

“How can I obtain them?”

– It’s a 24-hour production factory so as long as you place an order, it should work.

“I don’t know how contracts work so…”

– So why is a researcher involving himself in sales?

“I’ll explain when we meet later. 3 minutes are almost over. The Representative is giving me looks. I need the product within the next 2 hours.”

– I’ll give you the phone number of R&D Sales division’s Deputy. He’s our project supervisor, so he’s currently at the company.

Jungwu guessed that the man was probably forced against his will to come to work because of Doctor Moon, but Jungwu didn’t comment and gave her a reply.

“Thank you!”

After calling Sales Team 2’s Deputy named Sangchul Jo, Jungwu was able to get the answer that the product could be provided within the time constraint.

The price was agreed to at a higher premium for being a weekend rush order, but considering the Representative’s personality thus far, he probably wouldn’t mind the total.

Soon after, Representative Yum and his secretary stood before Jungwu.

“It’s a verbal contract, but the preparations will be done on time right?”

“Yes. And please make sure to deposit the money if it works.”

Jungwu thought of Deputy Jo who was rushing on his way with the materials for the artificial snow and said,

“Please keep one thing in mind. The Clean up after spraying a ton of snow into the interior of the building… My neighborhood gets chaotic when it snows every year. The neighbor across the street spends most of the time sweeping the snow, and when his wife came to nag once, she slipped and had cracked her hips. My mother is the head of Women’s Club, and she always goes to meet a grandma who claims that all you need to do is lay charcoal.”

Mr. Representative gave a smile.

“The value of advertisement for spraying real snow is much greater than the cost of cleanup. We already completed the agreement for artificial snow. All I can do is wait and hope that things go as planned.”

“You won’t have to worry about that. There is no such thing as fake or coincidence when the criterion for a chemical reaction is met.”

“Did you say you were a chemist?”

“Yes, sir.”

“I didn’t notice it before, but when I look at you, I get the feeling that it’s a very interesting area of study.”

“I am experiencing that for myself recently.”

‘Along with 3D VR mixing into my reality.’

By 6 30 pm, the shopping mall became packed with customers who came to watch the mini concert. Jungwu leaned against the rails on the top floor to look down.

It was the stage he had been helping set up since the morning. Behind it were the VIP guests. And beyond that were what appeared to be thousands of regular audience. Seeing them from such a height made them seem small and tiny.

“Oof so cold.”

He was wearing a glove, but he still felt the chill from the wind that blew in from the open windows.

‘If I were to convert a hotpack with the corrosive process like the last time the snow won’t form.”

There was nothing he could do but endure it and wait. The employees who installed and were waiting on standby next to the snow-making machine were also shivering in the cold.

Bee beep

– Jungwu ssi, when will Deputy Jo arrive?

Jungwu couldn’t answer the question asked over the radio. The Deputy was supposed to arrive already but was caught in traffic. He asked instead,

“Until when do we have to spray the snow?”

– Isul’s entrance is the cutoff line. One hour from the start of the concert. If we don’t then the customers won’t be able to enjoy the event.

It meant the snow had to begin before 8 pm.

“Eh? Are you Director Kim?”

– That is correct.

“Why are you using elevated terms?*”

– I’m showing deference. You just don’t seem like someone I should be speaking plainly to.

“It’s ok though. I’m Soochan’s friend.

– I think it was a good thing that Soochan decided to bring Jungwu ssi today. The Representative is looking forward to the event. If we fail, this will be the last time for me to run the show in this mall.

“And if we succeed?”

– Then, how do I say this. You save the life of a person with the title of Business Vice President. And I will probably be given monopoly over all events that happen in this giant shopping mall.

“That sounds great.”

– If that happens, I will make sure to compensate properly.

Once 7 pm hit, the Mini Concert began with a spectacle.

The Girlgroup TOT took to the stage and gave an energetic introduction and began with their hit song ‘Go!’, which raised the atmosphere of the mall in mere moments.

Jungwu couldn’t take his eyes away from the stage despite stomping his feet to chase away the cold. The live show was definitely fundamentally different from the rehearsal.

“The right thing for the right time, stage performance really benefits from support devices.”

Lights and smoke; everything on top of the stage blinking and sparkling along to the rhythm drew in the audience’s attention.

Once two songs were over, the first Fireworks went off.

It was short, but it created an unmistakable image of chrysanthemum flower with the letters [TOT] clearly written in the center for a brief moment before disappearing. The fireworks gave a refreshing feel as they popped and illuminated the image. It was wonderous, like a magic show.

Bee beep

– Wow, what the. Jungwu ssi, just where did you learn to do that? I don’t think even the H Innovation pyrotechnic experts can make something like that. And they are the ones who manage fireworks run by the City of Seoul during festivals.

“That’s because they’re only a 5th rank Chemical Company in the country. I work for KG Chemicals.”

Jungwu made a subtle inference at KG Chemical’s 1st place position and let him know his company’s greatness. He then resumed putting his attention back to the Girl group’s enthusiastic performance below.

Thanks to the great intro, spectacle, and fancy fireworks, the applause of the visitors of the mall reached fever pitch. He even saw that there were people at the entrance that couldn’t enter and were watching from outside.

As an event, this was most definitely a success.

And eventually, the 3rd group on the list came on stage.

“It’s the Girlfriends!”

Jungwu shouted when he stopped himself.

‘Autograph’

For one reason or another, he was unable to get Yulhwi’s autograph.

‘Oh my god, that was the most important thing.’

Jungwu watched their performance from afar with a dull face. It wasn’t like he was in the front row with the best seats, so Jungwu became even more wilted.

‘Let me see! Zoom in!’

He couldn’t closely perceive the events on the stage even with the chemical worldview. Too many Dust Stars were dancing along to the rhythm, making everything look wavy.

‘All of you guys go away!’

He was waving his hand when his cellphone finally rang. It was the Deputy he had been waiting for.

“Hello, Mister Deputy? Back door? There should be a staff named Soochan Park there waiting so just give him the materials. If you hand the purchase receipt to Secretary Jung, they should transfer the funds right away.”

Although he didn’t get any signature on paper, Jungwu felt confident everything was going to work out well. He quickly addressed the staff standing before the sedan-sized snow machine.

“The additive is on its way up. Please begin the snow machine. And you can start shooting as soon as the material is mixed.”

5 minutes later, the Elevator doors opened, and Soochan came running while pushing a cart filled with boxes.

“Jungwuya!”

“Hey, this way!”

A box was opened, and they mixed the powder in the plastic container with the label “Super Snow Max” into the water tank, and Jungwu nodded.

Vrrroom~!

The Engine gave a rawr as it began to work, and the nozzle of the snow machine began to blow water molecules from the humidifier. Jungwu was worried that the energy from the Dust stars might raise the kinetic energy in the air and chased them even further away.

‘Ok, now freeze!’

The humidity in the air first looked like white fog. But the water molecules began to freeze rapidly and gather around small particles as they floated around. Soon the reaction Jungwu had seen a few hours ago was repeated.

‘It’s done.’

Chasing away the Dust stars was very helpful. There were more particles than perfect snowflakes, but this concentration of snow was still a success.

Soochan who was watching haplessly from the side suddenly opened his mouth.

“It’s…snow!”

“What did I tell you?”

A particle of snow became focused by Jungwu’s vision.

It was transparent and flat. It was a more perfect six-sided wings than any other snowflake he had ever seen.

‘Oh, you were made so well. Bye bye~’

The perfectly pure and clean snowflake gently floated down to the plaza below.

The Snow machine was connected to the fire extinguisher system of the building, so soon the snow machine began to bellow snow like a storm.

At the same time, on the stage.

[Isul ssi, please prepare to make a comment during the interlude.]

Isul was in the middle of singing her third song ‘Winter is Coming~” when she saw the message pop up from the Stage use monitor. She sent the control room a quizzical look when she noticed it.

‘What do they mean?’

She had only worn an earpiece that played the accompaniment so she couldn’t ask directly. Once the verse was over, it was time for the guitar solo. The message on the screen surprised her.

‘Why this?’

Isul carefully opened her lips.

“Everyone, do you like snow?”

The crowd that had been listening enthusiastically answered happily with a “Yes!”

“Um…shall we look up at the sky?”

Once the comment was over, the lights moved as one and aimed at the Mall’s ceiling.

A brief moment of silence fell over the mall.

“What is that?”

“My goodness…”

Isul also looked up hearing the murmur of the crowds and couldn’t help but watch agape.

Snow.

Soundless snowflakes.

The air was filled with them.

The snow gently fell upon the heads of the guests below, and all of them were shocked.

[Isul ssi, the interlude is over!]

‘Ah’

– We should sometimes run forward without looking back on days like this so that we can leave footprints upon the white snow

The thin ice melted the moment it landed on the outstretched hands. It was just an ordinary symbol of winter, but it seemed so tender.

Couples leaned on each other’s shoulders, and families grasped each other’s hands. The guests enjoyed the unexpected gift happily.

‘It looks like we are inside of a snowball globe.’

Isul couldn’t help but smile when she felt the pleasant sensation of something cold touch the hand she was strumming her guitar with.

– Since its snowing, since it’s winter. Let’s walk together through the whitened world…

Once the song was over, everyone gathered in the mall gave a standing ovation. To Isul. To the miracle from the sky.

When Isul read the message on her monitor, she immediately began to speak into the mic.

“They’ve turned off the heater. Please put on your coats. I’ll begin the fourth song.”

‘Zzzt PIIII’

While Isul was speaking she suddenly heard a strange sound from the right speaker and flinched.

 


TL NOTE: Korean has various ‘forms’ of the language. Rude, regular, elevated, super-elevated, deified, etc. The reason why it’s a ‘form’ is because grammar and vocabulary actually differs between them significantly (and it is obvious when someone switches form). Most common forms are rude regular and elevated language. And the people you use each of the forms for are fairly common sense (rude for people you can afford to insult and dislike, normal form for people of the same standing or below, and elevated for people of higher rank or age). The fact that the Director used elevated form means that he perceives Jungwu as being higher standing than his own (because Director is for sure older) which is why Jungwu is shocked.

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7 thoughts on “Chapter 24 – Snowflake Serenade (6)”

    1. Big oops – they probably forgot that the equipment wasn’t waterproof! Now MC will have to come up with some chemical amps & speakers!

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